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Dear Neighbor,

I am honored to represent you in the state capitol. Below, you will find updates from the capitol and around western Wisconsin. Please feel free to reach out to me with your legislative and state agency concerns. 

In addition to this newsletter, you may follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

I ask that you help share this newsletter with your friends and family. An informed community is a strong community, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our communities' concerns. 





- Sen. Patty Schachtner

Lame-Duck Session Today

The Wisconsin State Senate is convening today to vote on proposals that would undermine the incoming administration, restrict early voting, and establish a new election that will cost taxpayers $7 million.

The proposals were introduced after Republicans called for an extraordinary lame-duck session after Wisconsin voters elected Democrats to each of Wisconsin’s statewide offices – governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, and secretary of state.

As a state senator, I was elected to represent people and fight for our shared priorities. I have heard from many constituents about the lame-duck session – all of them opposed to it. I have also heard from over 20 clerks and local officials asking me to oppose the election changes, as it would create another unfunded mandate and logistical challenges for local communities and voters.

We need to respect and represent the will of Wisconsin’s voters. I encourage the legislature and my Republican colleagues to work together with the incoming administration to address the issues that matter to our community: our roads, our health care, and our schools.

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Hunters Score Big in Deer Gun Season

Wisconsin hunters registered over 211,000 deer this year – that’s up 7 percent from 2017. Hunting is a cherished tradition for families across our region. In my hometown of Somerset, I was pleased to read that ten-year-old Wyatt Mielke got his first buck during this year’s youth hunt. Wyatt bagged an 8-point buck, which had a 10-inch spread.

Hunting is also an economic driver, bringing in over $1 billion in state economic activity. For many rural families, deer season means food through the winter and extra income in their towns. To protect hunting’s economic impact – and its place in our culture – we need to prioritize conservation of our lands and water. I look forward to playing a role in preserving this tradition.



Great Things at Unity, St. Croix Falls!

It was great to visit Unity and St. Croix Falls school districts to see their 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) programs at work.

The CLC program stems from federal funding allocated for after-school, before-school, and summer school programs in communities with economic need. The program aims to reduce the achievement gap by increasing learning supports for families that may not have consistent work schedules.

At Unity, CLC Program Director Cola Denucci helps provide after-school options for elementary school students. The program combines student employees, teachers, enrichment, study time, dinner, and a bus ride home to foster a sense of community for students.

CLC Program Director Julie Herrick coordinates after-school programs for St. Croix Falls middle school students. Programs in both school districts help lift up communities by supporting students and working families.

I asked a grandfather, who cares for his three grandchildren, what he thought of Unity’s program. He said, “it is a complete godsend.” “My grandchildren love the program and it has helped them in areas I cannot. We are lucky to have this program but too bad every school district cannot have this. These kids know the community cares for them.”


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School Bus Safety 

As the days get shorter, it becomes even more important for us to pay attention around school buses. School buses carry precious cargo – our children. When a school bus stops and has the flashing red lights, drivers must stop 20 feet or more away from the bus. This applies for drivers in both rear and opposing lanes unless there is a center median. In some areas, buses will also signal with yellow lights. Yellow lights indicate that drives can “pass cautiously.” While some buses will have an extended stop arm, the lack of a stop arm does not mean drivers can pass when red lights are flashing. More information about driver responsibilities around school buses is available on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website.


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District Events


9th Annual Christmas Dinner

Saturday, December 15; 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

The 9th Annual Christmas Dinner in Siren is free to all (no carry-outs). Music available. Dinner is sponsored by area churches and businesses.


Siren High School Christmas Concert

Monday, December 17; 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The high school concert will be held in the Siren School Auditorium




Thursday, December 13; 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Looking to make memories with a unique holiday event experience? Join us for the 15th annual WinterDaze event in downtown Menomonie on Thursday, December 13th. From 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., have an opportunity to meet Santa and Mrs. Clause, ride a horse drawn wagon, and warm up with some free Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.


Mental Health Training

Saturday, December 8; 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Offered free from the Dunn County Mental Health Improvement Project to help move the community toward wide-scale knowledge of behavioral health issues and how to address them. Training begins at 9 a.m. sharp; late arrivals or early departures will not qualify for certification. Limited seats available. For info, contact Sheli Jo Metzger at 715-235-4537 or



Taste of Home with a Visit from Santa

Friday, December 7; 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 8; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Come celebrate a Taste of Home with a Visit from Santa. We will have refreshments and homemade cookies available Friday, December 7 starting at 11am, with Santa coming from 2pm-5pm and Saturday, December 8 from 9am-12pm.


Fare For All Food Distribution

Tuesday, December 11

Fare For All buys fresh produce and frozen meat in bulk from wholesalers and manufacturers to find the best deals available, then prepacks the produce and meat in food packages that are sold to anyone who prepays and orders ahead of time at a great discount.

Orders must be placed by the Thursday before the distribution date. Upcoming distributions are scheduled for Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, 2018, and Jan. 22, Feb. 19 , March 19, April 16, May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug. 13, Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Dec. 10 in 2019.



The Solstice Chase

Saturday, December 15; 10 a.m.

A Half Solstice of 10 miles and a Full Solstice of 20 miles are the two options for this Fat Bike race at Big Rock Creek Retreat. There will be an After Party and awards.


Community Coffee with Osceola Police Department

Friday, December 21; 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

The Osceola Police Department is hosting Community Coffee every Friday at Caribou Coffee, inside Dicks Fresh Market. It's a time for community members, business owners and visitors to stop in and talk with their local police officers about anything they want. There are no agendas, just good conversation. Caribou supplies free coffee for anyone who attends this event. 


St. Croix

Octagon House Victorian Christmas Night

Friday, December 7; 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Lamp-lit tours, music & refreshments.  Tour the Museum and the lower level of The Phipps Inn B & B.


Minnesota Artists at the Phipps

December 7, 2018 - January 13, 2019; 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Gallery 1: Natasha Pestich – Screen printing – Columbia Heights, MN

Gallery 2: Samual Weinberg – Painting – St. Paul, MN

Gallery 3: Karlyn Atkinson Berg – 2D Mixed Media – Bovey, MN

Overlook: David Eckdahl – 2D Wood Sculpture – St. Paul, MN

Riverview: Randall Richard Rogers – Drawing – Brooklyn Center, MN